• The William E. Self Library, I auction at Christies

    Sale 2153

    The William E. Self Library, Important English and American Literature

    4 December 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 157

    POE, Edgar Allan. The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym. Of Nantucket. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1838.

    Price Realised  

    POE, Edgar Allan. The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym. Of Nantucket. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1838.

    12o. 2-page publisher's advertisement at beginning and 14-page advertisement at end. (Occasional minor pale spotting.) Original dark brown floral-embossed cloth, paper spine label (slight wear to extremities, covers lightly rubbed, label with hole worn through and slight loss, covers lightly rubbed); quarter morocco slipcase. Provenance: Anonymous consignor (sold American Art Association, 10 May 1934, lot 460 for $700).

    FIRST EDITION OF POE'S FIRST BOOK OF PROSE, AND HIS ONLY NOVEL. Two serialized installments of The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym were first published in the Southern Literary Messenger in January and February of 1837. When Poe left the magazine its publication ceased until the complete text of the novel was published by Harper's in July of 1838. Pym gained immediate notoriety, both because of its sensational subject matter and because it appeared to some to be a true account of perilous and fantastic voyage. Although Poe himself later called it "a very silly book," it nevertheless became an influential work, notably for Herman Melville and Jules Verne. Pym is often considered one of most fantastic short novels of the 19th Century. Science fiction author H. G. Wells noted, "Pym tells what a very intelligent mind could imagine about the south polar region a century ago." BAL 16128; Bleiler (1978), p. 159; Heartman & Canny, pp. 38-40; Wright (I) 2052. A VERY GOOD COPY of this fragile volume.


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